“Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I’ll be watching you.”
Those are the words an American Airlines flight attendant allegedly spoke publicly to the entire cabin. Mohamed -- a US citizen -- was humiliated and told the attendant her words were hurtful and discriminatory. So the captain had him -- not the attendant -- removed from the plane. When Mohamed issued a formal complaint, American concluded that “no discrimination occurred.”
It’s outrageous. But sadly, it’s becoming a common experience for anyone “flying while Muslim.” In April, one woman was pulled off a Southwest Airlines flight for wearing a headscarf. That same week, another man was pulled off a flight for telling his uncle goodbye in Arabic.
American Airlines, this is nothing short of Islamophobia. Retract your offensive statement and apologize to Mohamed.
This is a critical time in America. Donald Trump and his supporters are doing their best to whip up racial hatred and division in this country. And the terrifying thing is, it’s working. There are going to be more and more incidents like this in the coming months and we need to be there to ensure that corporations are held accountable when they try to sweep them under the rug.
Aside from the fact that it’s the right thing to do, making American apologize for whitewashing discrimination will have massive reverberations. One, airlines are massive, public-facing corporations with a lot of influence on public discourse. Two, we know we can make them come around. In one day, 200,000 SumOfUs members spoke out against the poaching of Cecil the Lion and demanded that American Airlines refuse to transport endangered animal “trophies.” And we won.
Tell American Airlines to kick hate off of its flights, not Muslims. Apologize to Mohamed now.